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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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RAF Bomber Command Crest
02.08.1943 No. 18 O.T.U. Wellington III X3800 Sgt. Leslie A. Charlton

Operation: Training

Date: 2nd August 1943 (Monday)

Unit: No. 18. O.T.U. "C" Flight.

Type: Wellington III

Serial: X3800

Code: Not known

Base: RAF Finningley, Yorkshire. (Now Robin Hood International Airport)

Location: Wroot, 8 miles east of Doncaster. Lincolnshire

Pilot: Sgt. Leslie Albert Charlton 1333575 RAFVR. Age 21. Killed

Nav: Sgt. Ronald Henry Smith 1575673 RAFVR Age 21. Killed

Air/Bmr: Sgt. John William (Bill) Perry 1439469 RAFVR Age 28. Killed

W/Op/Air/Gnr: Sgt. Eric Hempel Sherman AUS/410739 RAAF Age 19. Killed


The Wellington took off at 15.10 hrs from RAF Finningley on a training exercise to practice single-engine flying. 


The navigator of Wellington X3800, Sgt. Ronald Henry Smith
No details as yet what occurred but the aircraft was seen to dive and crash shortly afterwards at 15.30 hrs at Wroot near to the airfield. 
Sadly we do not have the exact location of the crash site, but the old map reference has been placed as WA 1832 - Can you assist us with this?


This page inspired by the webmaster who met a relative (Mr Ron Smith) of the navigator whilst on holiday.


Sgt. Ronald Henry Smith shown rear row, extreme right. Regret, we do not have other names or location of this photograph taken during training.


Above - the feared telegram

Left: Grave of Sgt. Ronald Smith
Burial details:

Sgt. Leslie Albert Charlton. Golders Green Crematorium Panel 1. Son of Albert John and Matilda Lucy Charlton, of Willesden, London, England.

Sgt. Ronald Henry Smith. Lewisham (Hither Green) Cemetery. Sec. G.G. Grave 47. Son of Edwin George and Rose Emmeline Smith, of 63, Bellingham Road, Catford, London S.E.6, England.

Sgt. John William (Bill) Perry. Finningley (Holy Trinity and St. Oswald) Churchyard Extension Row E. Grave 3. Son of John Henry and Fanny Perry; husband of Marion Perry, of Leeds, Yorkshire, England.

Sgt. Eric Hempel Sherman. Finningley (Holy Trinity and St. Oswald) Churchyard Extension Row D. Grave 3. Son of Leonard John and Anna Ida Clara Sherman, of Stanhope, Victoria, Australia.

With much assistance from Ron Smith - relative of Sgt. Ronald Smith in memory of the crew. Also to Margie Brown in Australia - relative of Sgt. Eric Hempel Sherman. With thanks to the following: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vol's. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions',  the Commonwealth Graves Commission.

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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